Neato Robotics XV-15 vacuum cleaner

Another sucker joins the robot wars

Clean sweep?

That said, there’s a caveat – though there’s a reasonable sized dirt bin, a couple of times the Neato stopped picking up more not because the bin was full, but because the pipe leading into it became clogged with fluff, or larger bits of debris; that probably won’t be an issue for most, unless you have a lot of animal hair around. Some hair, in fact, managed to wrap itself in clumps around the brush, but then, it was a pretty tough challenge.

Neato Robotics XV-15 vacuum cleaner

Fnarr, fnarr: the small display shows warnings and other helpful messages

Another issue was the performance in corners - with no side brushes, the Neato didn’t clean right to the edge, so you’ll need your usual vacuum for that.

Although it managed to navigate bedroom obstacles pretty well on the whole, there were times when it became a bit confused, beeping that its path was obstructed, when revisiting a section that it had previously cleaned, on some occasions necessitating manual intervention several times just to finish the room. My bedroom is admittedly somewhat chaotic, and perhaps the plastic storage bins confused the guidance system, but it still shouldn’t have done that. Again, the new firmware notes that improvements have been made with navigation too.

Neato Robotics XV-15 vacuum cleaner

Takes care of those dogsbody duties

Verdict

Neato’s XV-15 works pretty well; it has powerful suction which can help pick up fluff and other debris, and the marking of boundaries is done in a much better way than some of the competition. It’s simple to use, and behaved well even with our extreme tests. But, while it avoided most obstacles fine it also demanded more attention than the competition in complicated, untidy rooms, yet it seems Neato has made tweaks to the very navigation system recently, so hopefully this is more hit than miss now. ®

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Neato Robotics XV-15 vacuum cleaner

Neato Robotics XV-15 vacuum cleaner

An effective automatic cleaner – as long as you don’t have too much clutter.
Price: £380 RRP